Ohio big walleye contest brings big prizes


Call Clarence Mitchell Jr. an avid fisherman, a good fishing buddy, or just a very fortunate guy because Mitchell from this point on will be fishing from a truly fine and fully outfitted boat.

His new boat, $100,000 worth of horsepower, trinkets, glitter and gear is now his after tipping the scales with the biggest walleye caught during the annual Fall Brawl, earning him first place in the most noted Ohio-based fishing contest ever imagined.

From its modest beginning in 2010 when a bunch of weekend anglers filled a bucket with dollar bills that would be awarded for the biggest fish caught in a friendly, luck-based contest, the brawl has grown faster than a holiday credit card balance.

Due to gaining national fame, this year it boasted some 6,400 entries with countless multi-state participants.

To enter, Mitchell paid just $30, like everyone else, making top prize a pretty good investment, especially since one simply needs to be on the right end of the luckiest fishing rod.

Mitchell’s big walleye weighed in at 13.7 pounds.

The next four fish, starting with second place at 12.09 pounds, earned their catchers a split of another hundred grand worth of cash and goodies.

Keep in mind, this a late fall/early winter contest, and the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Make that seldom.

But the odds are certainly better than the lottery.

Gift ideas

Airguns are fast becoming the featured item on many shooters’ holiday wish lists.

We aren’t talking about the BB guns of old Christmas movies but modern, efficient and accurate models that shoot various size pellets.

There is no better way to become a really good shooter than to shoot and then shoot some more.

Airguns offer an inexpensive way to get that repetitive, year-around practice.

Another nice gift for a shooter is a cleaning vise that holds rifles and shotguns safely and firmly while cleaning.

Add to that a package of cleaning supplies.

Many outdoor enthusiasts drive trucks and that makes gifting easy.

Fitted floor mats and seat covers fill the bill and a reservation for detailing is another favorite.

Add to that an annual membership in the auto club.

You might also throw in a magnetic dash mount for his or her cell phone and one or two favorite CDs.

For the fisher, look at an inflatable life preserver.

Self-inflating units are far less restrictive than traditional vest styles and thus more likely to be worn.

They come in small belt-mounted units or around the neck tube-like designs.

Both inflate on contact with water and feature replaceable pre-charged canisters.

The rush to own a super cooler is remarkable, and they keep showing up on wish lists.

Keep in mind that there are several good brands, but there’s no such thing as a cheap super cooler.

Most of them will keep ice for several days.

Deer hunting numbers

Ohio deer hunters tagged far fewer deer than expected during the recent week-long gun season.

Total kill for the week was down about 17 percent from last year with 60,557 reported across the state.

Last year’s total harvest for the same annual season was 72,814.

Fewer hunters and lousy weather may have been the significant reasons.

Perhaps the upcoming weekend bonus gun hunt will tell a different story


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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